Court released ETHA reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar from prison

31 October 2018

İstanbul - The second hearing of Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar and four Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) executives was held at İstanbul 32. High Criminal Court. Court released all defendants and adjourned the hearing until 19 February 2019.

Kayar and four other defendants who have been in pre-trial detention for 9 months were present in the courtroom. The hearing was delayed for an hour and a half and ETHA reporter Kayar was the first one to submit his defense in the hearing. He reminded the court that over 170 journalists were imprisoned in Turkey and said, “All segments of the society are crying for justice. As it is stated behind your chair, if a state is not founded upon justice, chaos and conflict are inevitable. Lawyers, journalists, and academics are getting arrested, which means that everyone who is in opposition is facing these threats. The demonstrations and events I have attended were all peaceful and democratic demonstrations from which the prosecution is seeking to find elements of a crime.”

After Kayar’s statement, the remaining four defendants submitted their defense and the defense lawyers requested the release of their clients, whereas the prosecution requested the continuation of detention of all defendants. The court recessed for 15 minutes, after the break, released the defendants in pre-trial detention, and imposed a ban on leaving the country over all defendants. The court also lifted the order that forced rest of the defendants in the case to give signatures every week. The hearing was adjourned until 19 February 2019.